Erasmo Wong – The girl with the pristine soul
Lima-born and London-based Erasmo Wong is a photographer. You can imagine him walking alone through Huamcabamba, a province in the Piuro region which is famous for its fourteen lagoons, with his camera ready at hand. Even though the landscape and vastness of the surroundings must be the predominant motif, it still seems reasonable that a young woman walks up to him at the so called Sacred Black Lagoon and asks him – the photographer – “Hello, Sir! Would you take a picture of me?”
The girl belonged to a group of huamcabaminos who were seemingly in trance, sparsely dressed bathing in the healing waters of the mysterious lagoon. Immersed in faith and veiled from the world by soft mounds and rocks they were washing themselves clean of all sorrow – and that’s how “the girl with the pristine soul” acquired her name.
She was abused by her stepfather and tortured until one day her grandmother brought her to the Sacred Black Lagoon. She plunged into the water and it purified the body and soul of the young girl. From that time on she kept coming back to the lagoon every year.
Her first trip to the lagoon left a mark on the left cheekbone of her tormentor. “That black stain”, explains the girl “is exactly the same shape as the lake”.
Erasmo Wong shares not only a series of beautiful and enigmatic pictures with us, but also the story of an extraordinary girl. Like the girl whose name he cannot remember, Wong’s photographs deal with dignity, strength and beauty: characteristics that both the landscape and the people of Huamcabamba have in common.